There are many causes of vaginal bleeding not related to your periods, such as an infection, menopause, vaginal injuries, and changes in hormone levels.
If you are bleeding very heavily or you feel faint or as if you might pass out, call triple zero (000) immediately and ask for an ambulance. If calling triple zero (000) does not work on your mobile phone, try calling 112.
You should see your doctor if there is any unexpected vaginal bleeding. It is especially important to seek medical advice if you have any vaginal bleeding while you are pregnant or you have been through menopause.
What can cause vaginal bleeding?
Irregular bleeding is usually nothing to worry about. Bleeding between your periods is common, particularly if you are using hormonal contraception like the pill, a vaginal ring or hormone implants. Very heavy bleeding or bleeding that lasts longer than a normal period is also common, especially in teenagers or as you approach menopause.
However, bleeding after you have sex or between your periods could be the symptom of a medical condition. It could be because you have polyps, fibroids, problems with the lining of your womb or a hormone imbalance.
While rare, unusual vaginal bleeding that lasts for a long time can also be caused by something more serious, like cancer.
Other possible causes of vaginal bleeding are:
- an infection
- a vaginal injury
- hormone problems
- an issue with pregnancy
- menopause or perimenopause
- sexual intercourse
- some medical conditions like coeliac disease, liver or kidney disease
- some medicines
- missing oral contraceptive pills
- a forgotten tampon
- intrauterine device (iud)
- polyps or other non-cancerous growths
Not sure what to do next?
If you are still concerned about your vaginal bleeding, use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: May 2019